NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS
21 October 2003
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
No. 01 CRS 024054
BRANDON BUFORD DAVIS
Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 8 February 2002 by
Judge Steve A. Balog in Guilford County Superior Court.
the Court of Appeals 8 September 2003.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
Fred Lamar, for the State.
Robert T. Newman, Sr., for defendant appellant.
Defendant Brandon B. Davis was tried before a jury at the 4
February 2002 Session of the Guilford County Superior Court after
being charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver
cocaine and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
evidence showed the following: Brandon B. Davis was a passenger in
a car that was stopped by Officer Rodney Trent Briles of the
Greensboro Police Department on 1 February 2001.
testified that the vehicle was stopped for displaying expired tags.
The vehicle had four passengers including defendant who was in the
front passenger seat. While Officer Briles was running the tags
through his computer, defendant got out of the car and began to
Officer Briles called for assistance, and Officer James
-2Bernard Wilde apprehended the fleeing defendant. Officer Wilde
testified that he found 9.2 grams of marijuana, 18.6 grams of
cocaine, and $2,641.68 on defendant.
Officer Wilde further stated
that he took the money from defendant and had his supervisor notify
Corporal Alan Sylvester Wallace worked for the vice/narcotics
determining whether or not there was probable cause to seize money
pursuant to a drug arrest. After consulting with a U.S. Drug
Enforcement Agency (DEA) official, Corporal Wallace decided that
the $2,641.68 should be seized.
Defendant was arrested and booked by Officer Wilde.
February 2002, the jury found defendant guilty of possession with
intent to sell or deliver cocaine and misdemeanor possession of
marijuana. The Honorable Steve A. Balog sentenced defendant to six
to eight months in prison on 8 February 2002.
On appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred by (I)
denying defendant’s motion that the State produce the actual money
defendant’s motion to dismiss at the end of the State’s evidence
because of insufficient evidence.
For the reasons set forth
herein, we are not persuaded by defendant’s arguments and conclude
that he received a trial free from reversible error.
At the outset, we note that recent court decisions have
For instance, this Court has stated, “American law
enforcement is predicated on cooperation and mutual assistance.”
State v. Hill, 153 N.C. App. 716, 720, 570 S.E.2d 768, 771 (2002).
“[R]outine inter-governmental cooperation between state and federal
law enforcement agencies is not contrary to our statutory mechanism
to safeguard seized property.” Id. at 722, 570 S.E.2d at 772.
The legislature has also spoken to this issue.
90-95.2 (2001) allows state and local agencies to assist
each other in enforcing the drug laws, while N.C. Gen. Stat. §
113.5 (2001) requires state and local officials to cooperate with
enforcement officers in this case were consistent with these
I. Failure to Produce the Actual Money
Defendant claims that the trial court erred by not forcing the
State to produce the actual money seized from defendant during his
Defendant further argues that this violated his rights
because the money was not made available at trial for use in his
We do not agree.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15-11.1(a) (2001) directs that when a state
or local law enforcement officer seizes property, the property
shall be retained as evidence until either the district attorney
releases the property or a court orders its return pursuant to a
motion after a hearing.
However, the statute also permits the
introduction of substitute evidence at trial as long as it does not
prejudice the defendant.
-4Notwithstanding any other provision of law,
introduced at the time of the trial provided
introduction of such substitute evidence is
not likely to substantially prejudice the
rights of the defendant in the criminal trial.
In this case, the State’s failure to present the actual money
did not prejudice defendant because the jury was able to consider
The jury heard from Officer Wilde, the
State’s witness, who testified that he found $2,641.68 in cash,
three bags of cocaine, and one bag of marijuana on defendant’s
In contrast, Cecilia Beatrice Davis, defendant’s mother,
testified that the money had special markings on it and had
originally belonged to her.
Davis further asserted that the money
was generated from the sale of defendant’s automobile, rather than
the sale of drugs.
The absence of the actual bills neither inhibited the jury,
nor prejudiced defendant in this case.
The jury got to see the
whole picture by listening to the witnesses on each side.
importantly, through testimony, the jury considered the evidence
II. Motion to Dismiss for Insufficient Evidence
Defendant also contends that there was insufficient evidence
to convict him of possession with intent to sell or deliver
To withstand defendant’s motion to dismiss, the State
must “present substantial evidence that defendant (i) had either
actual or constructive possession of the cocaine and (ii) possessed
the cocaine with the intent to sell.”
State v. Alston, 91 N.C.
App. 707, 709-10, 373 S.E.2d 306, 309 (1988).
In making this
determination, the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable
inference to be drawn from the evidence.
Id. at 710, 373 S.E.2d at
Based on the evidence presented, the jury was reasonable in
concluding that defendant intended to sell or deliver cocaine.
First, the amount of cocaine found on defendant, approximately 20
grams, far exceeds the amount a typical user would possess for
Second, the cocaine was packaged separately, and
testimony from Corporal Wallace indicated that drug dealers often
keep cocaine in individual packages so it is readily available for
Finally, the drugs were found in close proximity to the
money. The cash was located in defendant’s pocket, while the drugs
sufficient evidence to convict defendant of possession with intent
to sell or deliver cocaine.
We have reviewed defendant’s remaining arguments and find them
to be unpersuasive.
Upon a careful examination of the record, the
transcript, and the arguments presented by the parties, we conclude
that defendant received a fair trial, free from reversible error.
Chief Judge EAGLES and Judge STEELMAN concur.